45°F
weather icon Clear

No direction to the water board from Nye County

Despite a wave of public outcry from residents, Realtors, landowners and developers alike, the commission, sitting as the governing board of Pahrump, was unable to pass a motion to begin the process of seeking legal action to halt Nevada State Engineer Order #1293.

The order, issued in December, requires those wishing to construct a new domestic well to first purchase two acre-feet of water rights and relinquish them back to the state prior to drilling.

Nye County Commissioners Dan Schinhofen, Lorinda Wichman and John Koenig apparently had no appetite to fund legal recourse against the order.

Commissioner Butch Borasky’s motion to start with a free consultation with attorney Dave Rigdon was voted down with Borasky and Commissioner Donna Cox voting in favor and Schinhofen, Wichman and Koenig against.

During the same meeting, another item was addressed in relation to Order #1293. That item called for discussion and deliberation to direct the water board to:

■ identify, quantify and investigate the relinquishment of water rights within subdivisions without infrastructure;

■ investigate the feasibility of community wells;

■ investigate the feasibility to give an option in the town of Pahrump to choose a conservation well as opposed to purchasing two acre-feet of water rights.

This also met with failure, as the commissioners were at once again at odds over the actions proposed.

Schinhofen started the discussion, telling the audience and his fellow commissioners, “I asked for this item. We do have the authority to request the water district do certain things.”

Schinhofen said the water board had been making diligent progress in the past two years, as detailed in the backup for the item. However, he remarked that there were other ideas that he would like to see the water district to pursue, hence the item.

When making a motion to approve giving direction to the water board, Schinhofen only called out the first two actions listed in the item and decided to drop the third, conservation wells. He said this was due to the fact that the state engineer does not have the power to authorize conservation wells.

However, that proposal may not be dead as Schinhofen said the idea could very well be brought before the Nevada Legislature in 2019 as a bill draft request.

Wichman offered a second on the motion contingent on Schinhofen amending it to state “ask respectfully” rather than “direct.” “Because we cannot direct them,” she asserted. Schinhofen heeded her request and made the amendment.

Public comment

During public comment, most of the speakers were still focused on Order #1293 but some came forward with questions about the requests the county was proposed to be making.

Local resident Rich Lauver said he was concerned about the concept of a community well as he did not feel he fully understood how that would benefit the community.

“I don’t understand how that gains anything because my understanding of a community well is, it still requires two-acre foot of water per parcel … So if you have 10 parcels on a community well, my understanding would still be, now you would be required to purchase 20 acre-feet of water rights, if I am not mistaken. And now that you are in a community well setting, is it a three-to-one ratio? You might actually be causing more costs by this system,” Lauver asserted.

Schinhofen responded that was the reason he wanted the water district to investigate the proposal.

Koenig agreed, stating, “We don’t know the answers to those questions. As we look into it, if we get agreement from people like the state, we can hopefully set the parameters…”

Before the motion came to a vote, Cox made her opinion on the item quite clear. “I do not want to give the water board any control over anything anymore,” Cox declared. “I think the water board has shown themselves to be what they are by supporting this order… I will not vote to put any of this into their hands.”

Schinhofen’s motion to request action from the water district failed with a tie vote of 2-2, with Koenig and himself in favor, Borasky and Cox against and Wichman, who had left the meeting, absent. However, the item must be brought back before the commission at a future meeting as required by Nevada Revised Statute for all tie votes by an elected board.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Harry Reid: Switch to primaries everywhere, make Nevada first

Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid said in a statement Sunday that the Democratic Party should abandon caucuses everywhere and switch to primary elections to nominate the president instead.

DEBRA J. SAUNDERS: Trump’s own criminal justice reform

President Donald Trump has done what criminal justice reforms have championed for years, but is it more about him than about justice?

Chamber of Commerce attracts new carnival provider

Though rain showers put a damper on Saturday’s flights during the three-day annual Pahrump Balloon Festival, the carnival portion was not affected.

Pahrump Arts Council hosts first ever art sale fundraiser

Facing an unexpected loss of funding through alleged embezzlement by a former board member, the Pahrump Arts Council has been hard at work striving to recoup some of that money.

Wells Fargo reaches $3 billion settlement over fake-accounts scandal

Wells Fargo &Co. entered into agreements with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle investigations by both agencies over its fraudulent fake-account scandal.

Nevada had $60M in Medicaid overpayments, audit finds

The overpayments stemmed from undetected or unreported wage increases for recipients that either would have reduced benefit payments or terminated them from the program.

Nevadans urged to get Real IDs ahead of Oct. 1 deadline

As Oct. 1 creeps closer Nevada residents who haven’t gotten their Real ID are urged to step on it to avoid possible long lines.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Saturday, Feb. 22 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $11 million.

Nevada attorney general files lawsuit over ERA

After the state of Virginia’s vote to become the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) last month, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford filed a lawsuit in late January to ensure the amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution, which would guarantee equal rights for all women, according to a news release issued from Ford’s office.

Buttigieg takes Nye County with Sanders sweeping Nevada

The Nevada Democratic Caucus is now at an end and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in the Silver State, with a commanding lead at 6,788 county delegates, according to the state party’s results website.